Monday 25th June 2007

blanche dublin ireland

Blanche. Sully suggested this one. I had a quick listen on MySpace and decided to go. Found a few free tracks lying around the web and had a few more listens. A good band. The guitars got me straight away. I decided to go based on the first chords I heard. Revisiting Jack Lawrence's musical skills from this show also helped.

I hung around after work. More Frasier, more brown rice, more porridge, a muesli bar for dessert. Time came and I again wandered to Harcourt Street. This time I went by the quiet side of the Green, then followed the curved Georgian terraces to the Crawdaddy. My ticket was collected with some language issues, the inner doors were not open, I went outside and waited on a wall.

Bernard arrived, then Sully. We briefly saw Mr. Miller exit the venue and walk to a hotel on Harcourt Street. Sully and Bernard sat outside and had a drink. I refrained. A bit later we went in. Support were playing. They were good, but the PA was operating at a volume that was painful. This was my second Crawdaddy show. The last one was the same. Crawdaddy needs to turn down a little. But they were good. Sully was very impressed with the guitarist. I was fairly impressed with the guitarist.

Support left. We wandered to the front right. Hung around, watched the crowd move, then wandered into the middle at the opportune moment. It was one of those gigs where things filled up from the back to the front.

Blanche slowly appeared to set up their gear. It was a slow set up. They gently plugged things in and made adjustments. The crowd quietly watched, talking amongst themselves. Occasionally the music would fade between songs, changing the band/crowd relationship into that of an awkward first date. All members of the band were smartly attired. Dan John Miller wore a golden brown vintage suit. Tracee Mae Miller wore a delicate white vintage garment of unrecognised original purpose*. Feeney wore a well-cut vintage suit. Jack Lawrence chose some plain black trousers, a black waistcoat with white reverse, and a black and white tie. Lisa Jannon chose a vintage suit in a lighter grey colour. All suits seemed to carry a country flavour, most shoes did the same. This is a lot of time to spend describing the band's appearance, but it was an appearance worthy of description.

By this stage we had nudged forward to within a metre of the stage, barely two metres from The Millers. Microphones were hardly needed, and every hushed word was clearly heard. It seemed they were almost ready to go, until Dan John left the stage for a minute or two. The atmosphere changed from that of an awkward first date to one of a confused awkward first date. It was funny.

He came back. The music started. We were very close to the front. The mix was bits from the PA, the guitar amps very first hand (particularly the bass), drums first hand. Dan's Harmony guitar could be heard acoustically when strummed vigorously. I too have a Harmony. It's a different model, but it has a similar sound. It was the first guitar I bought in America**.

The evening continued. There were duets, entertaining husband/wife comments, banjo intros, slide guitar solos, thudding bass notes from Tracee's very old bass. There was a good bit of joking around, tales of lost luggage via Air Canada, though this sadly was not a joke***. There were adjustments to amps that stopped amps from working, there was happiness when the amp kicked back into play. The band were close to me, and it was hard to avoid catching the eyes or the Millers or Jack Lawrence, though less so Feeney for no particular reason, and Lisa Jannon was generally obscured by Dan John. I regret being tall sometimes. It would be easier to watch from the front if I was of a lesser stature and smiled more.

Sound constantly improved throughout the show. The silence between songs was enjoyable. A hush would fall after an applause, and the band's subtle communications would again come to the fore. Discussions about intros between Dan and Jack, comments regarding odour directed at Feeney. The members of the group were formally introduced and applauded by all - a nice touch. Jack sang a song. Feeney sang a song that involved him sneaking around the crowded stage and balancing precariously on the monitor speakers****. The backing vocals were great. I was asked to count the band in on one song. I counted them in.

Eventually they decided to call it a day. We clapped and waited for them to come back. I tried to encourage the guys to clap more, for I felt not enough people were putting in the effort. Thankfully Blanche returned for an encore. They played again, then bid their final goodnights.

I pinched a list, we waited around. I chatted with Liam's friend Andy. I bought an album. We went outside. The band were hanging around outside. Sully and Bernard had some more drinks. I contemplated getting some signatures on my setlist, but I don't really like approaching strangers so the moment never really happened. I was fine with that. Bernard got Jack Lawrence to sign an album. We agreed that Jack Lawrence has a very distinguished signature.

Got the train home after messing around on Charlemont Bridge.

*It was a wonderful vintage garment, perhaps once a negligee, perhaps a slip, but worn as a dress...
** From 30th Street Guitars in Manhattan. From the guy with the shortish curled black hair. Told to try 30th Street by the nice guys in Chelsea Guitars. I got an SG there on my next visit.
***It seems they borrowed backline from support, and a pedal guitar from who knows where.
**** The song was "Sit Down". Feeney wasn't sitting down when he sang it.
*****The show was declared by Dan to be sponsored by Bowler's Barber shop (above the Bleeding Horse).
******He was sporting a trim he received there at some point during the day.

fantasyjackpalance tickets